Flash (vol.2) #161 (2000)

Flash (vol.2) #161 (June, 2000)
“Honeymoon in Vegas”
Writer – Pat McGreal
Penciller – Paul Pelletier
Inker – Doug Hazlewood
Letterer – Gaspar
Colorist – Tom McCraw
Editor – Joey Cavalieri
Cover Price: $1.99

Today we’re going to sorta-kinda pick-up on a story we discussed a few months back.  This is the post-wedding of Wally West and Linda Park… we’re just skipping all that Cobalt Blue stuff!  Maybe we’ll get to that some other time.

This is one of those “that cover, though” issues… I mean, just look at it?  How could anybody resist reading a story featuring these folks?  Steve Lightle absolutely kills it here… a very beautiful (and inviting) cover.

Let’s see how the insides match up!

Wally and Linda have finally wed (for real this time) and have shoved off on their Honeymoon.  We pick up with several other speedsters who are sitting around sharing stories at the Flash Museum.  While talk of honeymoons is in the air, Jay Garrick decides to share the dirty details of his own.  Following their nuptials, Jay and Joan booked it for Las Vegas… which is quite a bit different than the Vegas of today.  It was just, in Jay’s words “a sleepy little cowboy town”.  Well, before the newlyweds can “hunker down” for the night, they are interrupted by… 

Jay’s Justice Society pals pop in and ask to take the happy couple out for a night on the town to celebrate.  Joan gracefully bows out but insists Jay spend a few hours with his friends.

As the Society men head off to the “fabulous” Blue Heron Casino, we are introduced to this issues “running (pun!) gag”… a trio of tramps who resemble an amalgamation of several 1930’s comedy acts hop out of a train car in search of… I dunno, wealth and fame?

The gang arrives at the Blue Heron, and we are filled in that it is being operated by Rocky Birnbaum, a well-known west coast mobster.  The thing of it is, is he appears to be running this venture completely on the level.  The Society ain’t buyin’ it… and decide a “pop in visit” might do just the trick… even if it’s just letting Birnbaum know that they’ve got their eyes on him.  At that very moment, Rocky is on the phone… being read the riot act by one of his “investors”.

The Society heads inside and… well, immediately bully and badger Rocky.  He assures him everything is on the up-and-up… and doesn’t even have a problem with a super-speed search of the entire facility.  In spite of there being zero evidence, Green Lantern still ribs poor Rocky.

Outside we meet another trio… not those vaudevillian geeks from before, but the Thinker, the Fiddler, and (a reluctant) Shade!   Ya see, the Thinker wants to knock over the “fabulous” Blue Heron Casino.

He continues, claiming that Rocky Birnbaum is indeed running a scam… just a different kind of scam than usual.  He is telling his investors/knee-cappers that the Casino is running at a loss so he can skim from the profits.

We rejoin the Justice Society at a table.  They have a pretty interesting chat about whether or not masked heroes should inform their significant others about their dual-identity.  Jay admits that, yes… Joan has known for awhile that he is the Flash… to which, the rest of the Society is aghast.  In fairness to Jay, his “disguise” is a pie plate.  Still, very cool little chat.

Jay then rushes off to check in on his blushing bride… running right over those vaudevillian geeks.  The geeks then get up, brush themselves off and enter the “fabulous” Blue Heron Casino in search of a job.  They’re booted outside with the quickness… just as the Thinker and Co. are about to set their plan in motion.

Back at the hotel, Jay watches as Joan… seductively… sets her alarm clock.  That’s no euphemism, folks… I promise.

Meanwhile, back at the “fabulous” Blue Heron Casino… the Thinker has launched a hallucinatory attack.  This, naturally, freaks out the patrons… however, the baddies certainly didn’t expect to find the Justice Society this far west.  Rocky looks on with glee… after all, a robbery might just be the perfect cover for his “skimming off the top”.

While Jay and Joan… uh, consuma… er, celebrate, the Justice Society have their clocks cleaned by the bad guys.  Green Lantern, with his weakness to wood, is the last to fall when he has a wooden chair cracked over his head.  Jay returns just as the villains are celebrating their victory.

The Thinker tries whipping up some hallucinations for the Flash… but, no dice… get it?  Um, look at the picture below… get it, now?

Jay then rushes through Shade’s inky blackout goop and spears the baddie in the midsection.

Finally, the only one left is the Fiddler… who, upon seeing the Flash proceeds to… well, fiddle.  This causes Jay to dance uncontrollably… and, wow… it’s quite a panel.

Jay uses the momentum from his impromptu two-step and turns himself into a living tornado.  This not only kayos the Fiddler, but it also sends the sack of cash that Rocky was trying to “skim” through a window and deep into the desert.

With a job well done, Jay and the gang leave.  Upon return to the hotel, Jay passes out on the couch… leaving his new bride a little less satisfied than she probably hoped.

But, I hear you asking, what of that sack of money?  Well… those lovable tramps from earlier?  Yeah… they got it.

Now there was a fun issue!  If you’re just getting over your sadness that the Justice Society is (still) in limbo, this probably isn’t the issue you’re going to want to read… because it will send you right back into your “I miss the JSA” depression!

This was just a really good time.  A bright-colored adventure… lotsa laughs among pals… really, just so much fun.  Makes you wonder why we haven’t gotten a revival of the JSA… even if all they were going to tell were stories from the Golden Age.  I mean, what harm could that do?  It wouldn’t mess with any continuity… it wouldn’t have even messed with the precious “five year timeline” of the New-52!  Tell me you wouldn’t pop in for the monthly adventures of the Justice Society from the first half of the twentieth century!

I think my favorite scene here was the discussion the fellas had at the table regarding their secret identities.  I don’t think that’s something we really think about as it pertains to this generation of heroes.  I mean, these guys are the cornerstones of the hero community… everybody knows who they are (now).  To be reminded that this wasn’t always the case was really cool.  Jay’s response to all of it was equally cool… I mean, unlike his teammates, the dude doesn’t cover his face one bit, he’d be a pretty easy one to point out!

Gotta talk about the art.  I’ve been a Paul Pelletier fan forever… think he’s just phenomenal.  I’m looking at his Joan Garrick here… and despite her being in a negligee for most of the issue, she never comes across as hyper-sexualized.  There’s an innocence to her… though, I may just be conflating my own perception of 40’s fashion with innocence.  Either way, I was pleased to see her portrayed as… I dunno, modest?  The art on the rest of the issue, it should go without saying, was fantastic as well.

So… if you’re currently battling JSA-withdrawals, you might wanna check this issue out… though, be mindful, it might send you into a spiral when you realize that this team ain’t around anymore… and it could be years before we see them again.  Let’s hope we just did a reverse-rain dance, and there’ll be an announcement of their return in the coming weeks!  For your convenience, this issue is available digitally.

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